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Published 1948
Topics Economics

A group of teenagers on a high-school radio program discuss just what capitalism is, seizing onto the example of the butcher who supplies the weenies for their picnic. With Mickey Hugh (Ray Bennett); Franklyn Ferguson (John Howell). Educational Collaborator: James Harvey Dodd, Ph.D., Head, Department of Economics and Business Administration, Mary Washington College, University of Virginia.

Run time 9:23
Producer Coronet Instructional Films
Sponsor N/A
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W


Widgets give way to weenies as the "Western High School Radio Forum" discusses the meaning of capitalism in terms designed to make sense to teenagers.
Capitalism is one of many "free-enterprise education" films released in the first few years of the Cold War. Unlike many films produced under corporate sponsorship, it avoids taking jabs at socialism, Russia or New Deal government programs. Nonetheless, it uses the common Coronet device of showing a group collectively engaged in coming to terms with an idea -- a process with predetermined conclusions. In this respect, I imagine that it's not so different from Soviet educational films.

Discussion of capitalism and what it means to people in all walks of life. Setting is a high-school radio forum, with a spirited informal discussion of the problem by members of the panel just before going on the air.

"In this film we point the way toward a clearer understanding of capitalism by presenting some of its important aspects. We do not attempt to cover the entire subject nor to define capitalism. It is for you to develop conclusions as to what capitalism means by considering the material presented here, by further study in other sources, and by discussing your own [obscured] opinions"
A group of teenagers on a radio program have a discussion about what capitalism is.

Ken Smith sez: "Weenie" references fly fast and furious in this film, as the kids in the "Western High School Radio Forum" use weenies (rather than widgets) to explain capitalism. "We needed weenies. Mr. Brown had weenies. It's as simple as that," says one teen. "Just think of all the others who made a profit on those weenies." This film uses the same, elaborate (for Coronet) radio station set that was trotted out in How To Read A Book and How Friendly Are You? Town Treasurer, "Mr. Howell," is the weird dad from Shy Guy. For more weenie references, see Are You Popular?, Feeling Left Out? and What To Do On A Date.
Large square clock at 3:23
High school boy enters radio broadcast studio, takes off coat, and sits down at table with other teenagers.
Earnest teens argue about capitalism
Teens buy items from food store
CU case of hot dogs (weenies)
Radio studio clock at 3:30, "on the air" sign lights up. Station manager points to signal start of program.
People stop what they are doing and turn and speak to the camera: drug store clerk, auto-mechanic, housewife with bags of groceries, artist at easel.
Turning phonograph record
Man at desk in office speaks into microphone
Oil field, downtown intersection, machinery, train yard
Toaster factory, workers assemble and polish toasters (good shots).

Stock shots:
radio stations; old microphone; oil derricks; toaster factory; wheat fields; banking;
"Can't we agree that capitalism is an economic system, a system for the production and distribution of things we need and want?"
"the basis of the capitalistic system is private property."
"People own property and use it to provide the goods and services that people need."
"Contract, competition, profit motive, private property and what do they all add up to: free enterprise."<BR>


Reviewer: ERD - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 23, 2006
Subject: Good infomation,
While the information about capitalism is well covered, the dialogue is a bit contrived. Good acting and direction.
Reviewer: Christine Hennig - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 13, 2004
Subject: The Capitalist Economic System Explained in Terms of Weenies
In this Coronet film, a group of high school students do a radio panel discussion show on the topic ÂWhat Is Capitalism? But first they do a lot of arguing amongst themselves about what the most important elements in capitalism areÂÂan argument that could only take place in a Coronet film. Campiest is the example of private property given in the form of the grocer from whom they buy supplies for the class weenie roast from. ÂWe needed weenies. Mr. Brown had weenies, etc. This is more Dick-and-Jane than Round and Round. Of course, the idea that American capitalism is the best economic system in the world is not questioned for a second, nor are any drawbacks to capitalism mentioned, though many benefits are. This is pretty much what youÂd expect from a Coronet film tackling these issues, which means itÂs pretty campy.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Reviewer: Steve Nordby - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 20, 2003
Subject: Mr. Brown's Weenies
This lame capitalist love-in is far better for its unintentional humor. When butcher Brown agrees to give the boys and girls "extra service" for their weenies and buns, the kids get excited. They can't agree on what exactly makes capitalism so wonderful, but there is no doubt they love capitalism and weenies, and that the government's main purpose is to protect and promote the interests of capitalist weenies.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavorite - February 25, 2003
Subject: Weenie Capitalism Defined!
In this film, 5 chirpy teenagers get into a philosphical arguement about what capitalism is, and what it means to them. An example is given with Mr Brown and the puchase of some weenies from his store. One of the kids says "We needed weenies, Mr Brown had weenies". Much discussion is then brought forward about just Mr. Brown's motives were with those weenies.

He's a shrewd one, apparently.
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